WAH-64D Apache Longbow
The WAH-64D Apache Longbow, designated Apache AH Mk. 1 by the UK Ministry Of Defence, is a British- variant of the Boeing AH-64D Longbow. The Longbow is operated by the Army Air Corps (AAC) and is the first dedicated attack helicopter that the UK has fielded. The Army had previously relied on the dual-role Lynx AH-7, armed with TOW missiles, as their anti-armor helicopter.
The WAH-64D differs from its US cousin a number of ways:
- Engines - the British Apache features 2 Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engines instead of the General Electric T700-GE-701Cs found in U.S. Apaches. The more powerful engines allow the WAH-64D to operate in the hot, high conditions of Afghanistan and still retain the fire control radar dome. U.S. Longbows need to remove the radar dome when deployed to Afghanistan.
- Rotor blades - the WAH-64D features folding rotor blades which allow the WAH-64D to be stowed in confined spaces. The blades also feature an anti-icing feature.
- Communications - for compatibility with other UK units, the WAH-64D is fitted with the Bowman tactical communications system
- Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (HIDAS) - an advanced suite of missile warning and countermeasures:
- Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver
- BAE Systems Series 1223 laser warning receiver
- Sanders AAR-57 missile warning receiver
- W. Vinten Vicon 78 Series 455 countermeasures dispensing system
- Armaments - The WAH-64D is armed with CRV 7 rockets as apposed to the Hydra 70mm rockets typically carried by U.S. Apaches
British Longbows have seen action in Afghanistan in support of British forces deployed to Helmand Province. Flying so-called 'initiate air support' missions, WAH-64Ds have proven themselves to be an invaluable asset.
In January 2007, 2 British Army Air Corps Apaches, with Royal Marines strapped to their stub wings, flew a daring rescue mission. The Royal Marines had raided a Taliban fort. When they withdrew after intense fighting, they realized they had left a Marine behind. Lacking another method of retrieving the Marine's body, 2 Apaches, with more Apaches providing cover, flew 4 troops into the fort and retrieved their fallen comrade. Apaches were designed to allow for the emergency extraction of downed crews on the stub wings of another helicopter.
WAH-64D Apache Longbow Specifications
WAH-64D LONGBOW FEATURES
- high performance Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engines
- folding rotors
- HIDAS defensive suite
- Navalized for operation from ships
- Milimetre-wave Longbow radar
||2 - With Pilot seated above and behind Weapons Systems Officer
||Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322
||L - 17.73m
W - 5.227m
H - 4.64m
||11,800 lbs (empty)
17,650 lbs (standard loadout)
||158 kt (293 kph)
|| 1,700 km - internal and external fuel
||M230 30mm Cannon (typical loudout of 1200 rounds)
CRV 70mm Rockets (up to 76 in 4 pods of 19)
AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire Missiles (up to 16)
provision for Stinger, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Mistral and Sidearm air-to-air missiles
||Northrop Grumman millimetre-wave Longbow radar
Honeywell Integrated Helmet And Display Sighting System (IHADSS)
Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (HIDAS)
WAH- 64-D Apache Longbow pictured during an airshow.
photo by : Arpingstone